Maid accused of killing employer Nancy Gan faces reduced culpable homicide charge

SINGAPORE - The Indonesian maid who was originally charged with murdering her employer Nancy Gan Wan Geok now faces a reduced charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Dewi Sukowati, whose age was given as 23, is said, in the amended charge, to have hit the head of the 69-year-old socialite and philanthropist against a wall and the floor kerb, and then pushing her into a swimming pool. The acts were done with the intention of causing bodily injuries as was likely to cause death.

Ms Gan was found in pyjamas and had head injuries.

The alleged incident took place at a bungalow at Victoria Park Road in Bukit Timah between 7.30am and 8.46am on March 19 last year.

No plea was taken from Dewi on Tuesday.

Her lawyer, Mr Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed, said he would be making representations and meeting his client's family in a village in Indonesia.

Dewi received her work permit on March 12 last year and worked for Ms Gan for barely a week before the latter was found dead at home.

Ms Gan, a mother of two, was formerly married to former Hong Kong Legislative Council politician Hilton Cheong-leen.

She was a classically trained pianist and a porcelain painter who regularly donated her works to raise funds for charity. Her works include orchids, landscapes, fish, birds, flowers and animals on fine porcelain and bone china.

Ms Gan, over the years, appeared in upmarket magazines such as The Peak Singapore, counting among her friends ambassadors and their wives.

According to a website named after her, nancygan.com, Ms Gan was involved in fundraising efforts for the Bone Marrow Donor Programme, the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped and Singapore Cancer Society.

Dewi's case will be mentioned again on June 23.

If convicted, she could be jailed for life, or face a jail term which may extend to 20 years and liable to fine. Although caning is provided, women and men aged above 50 cannot be caned.